The cocktail bar on the Charles River Speedway takes guests on a visit all over the world.
Some folks make a scrapbook for trip photographs and mementos. For restaurateur Ran Duan, journey conjures up greater than only a staid visible memento: The award-winning bartender’s current journeys set the scene at Birds of Paradise, opening Friday, December 16, at Brighton’s Charles River Speedway, an open-air market with eating places, bars, retailers, and extra.
Boston’s latest cocktail bar is the newest from Duan and his workforce, which already operates three of the realm’s most progressive venues: craft-cocktail suburban stunner Baldwin Bar in Woburn, plus the tropical oasis Blossom Bar and self-described “seafood emporium” Ivory Pearl , each in Brookline. our [bar] applications rely closely on escapism,” Duan says. Birds of Paradise is of the identical feather, taking cues from a bygone period of jet-setting and making surprising routes all over the world.
In a classy, mid-century-meets-cave-like barroom with 45 seats, Birds of Paradise calls to thoughts a classic Pan Am aircraft cabin, or possibly a members-only airline terminal. Within the basement of an early-Twentieth century former police station, the house has some unique home windows and grey stone partitions, which Duan’s design preserved. He added a wall of modern wooden paneling, together with warmly vivid lighting and curvaceous, Artwork Deco particulars. Blue-upholstered banquettes and marble-topped tables run parallel to the 20-seat bar.
Consider the drink menu as a journey itinerary. Centered on a specific vacation spot, half of the cocktails evoke flavors from that space. Different libations characterize journeys between international locations, corresponding to Rio to Tokyo, or Kingston to Milan. Birds of Paradise bartenders are the stewards navigating the connection between cultures through style, sight, or feeling—and it might not be in methods you anticipate.
The opening menu visits Mexico, the place Duan and back-of-house supervisor James Sutter traveled this previous summer time. Their fundamental mission was to style dozens of barrels of El Tesoro tequila in Jalisco and choose a single reserve to function at Birds of Paradise. However additionally they sought out indigenous fruit and different elements—and loved the Guadalajara eating scene.
A dessert from Restaurante Alcalde, for example, impressed the drink Parsnip Alejandro, which riffs on the creamy traditional Brandy Alexander through the use of a base of salted parsnip and what Duan is looking “macadamia mist.” It is spiked with vodka, not a Mexican spirit corresponding to sotol or mezcal, however “it has all these elements that actually made that have memorable for me,” Duan says. He intends to make extra barrel-selection journeys with different key managers—to France for cognac, Martinique for rum—to encourage future cocktail menus.
Birds of Paradise additionally has a boba tea machine, which would be the cornerstone of a number of non-alcoholic drinks. The bar will serve a small menu of snacks together with a “actually elevated” model of the packet of nuts you is likely to be served on a aircraft, and temaki, or sushi-style hand rolls. The menu will evolve because the workforce learns what clients need, Duan says, although will probably be restricted to what may be made in a cold-prep space behind the bar; there is not any kitchen. (Guests can usher in meals from different Speedway distributors, although.) Birds of Paradise may even supply its total menu to go, together with bottled cocktails (by not less than March 2023).
The bar is located down a paved path, previous the primary courtyard of the Speedway, and could have outside seating within the hotter months. The Speedway has a small car parking zone off Western Avenue, the place there’s additionally ample avenue parking; rideshare customers can use the deal with 1440 Troopers Area Rd. to be dropped off straight at Birds of Paradise.
The placement advantages the idea. “We’re very near Harvard and to lots of people that journey,” Duan says. These are curious, educated drinkers. “Persons are in search of that cocktail that they cannot make at residence,” he provides, noting how a lot at-home cocktail tradition has advanced for the reason that onset of the pandemic. Prospects are always asking his workforce for suggestions, and journey provides them tales to carry again to the bars. “You’ll be able to solely make it genuine if you happen to expertise it your self,” Duan says. “To ensure that us to actually wow the visitor we actually must assume exterior the field.”